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How Undocumented Immigrants Define Political Participation

April 2018 - April 2020

Nick Espitia


In the aftermath of the 2016 election the rhetoric around immigration and undocumented immigrants has become more hostile and conservative politicians and the new Presidential administration has started to push back against the notion of deserving undocumented immigrants. The current political landscape presents a rare moment in history where we can observe what happens when distinctions of deservingness are contested, how a previously deserving group reacts when their status is shifted to undeserving, and how these shifts affect the group's social identity and political participation. This dissertation project will clarify how undocumented immigrants define political participation, explore how undocumented they make sense of deserving and undeserving distinctions, examine what role local policy plays in constructing these distinctions, and investigate what factors influence the political participation of undocumented Latinx immigrants.

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